Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tony Borhani's Bahia maduro & Leap Year Day

#2 Belicoso
This is a very limited run cigar.  All of the Tony Borhani cigars have been top of the heap Nicaraguan sticks, and this one from all appearances looks like it is going to be one dandy of a smoke.  The madruo wrapper in a dark chocolate color and flawless, and it smell divine.  I must state that it doesn't smell like a tobacco leaf at all.  Another one that brings back childhood memories for me.  Brookfield Zoo just outside Chicago.  1959.  She was 7 years old and had on a yellow dress.  Were were eating our brown bag lunches on the grass just outside the lion house.  Damn!  I could spend an hour sniffing at this cigar and then remembering, then sniffing and then remembering.
I loved this cigar before I ever thought to put a match to it.    I even thought of putting it back in the humidor because I do not have another one and didn't want to loose that memory jog.  I'm not likely to be able to get another of this vintage.
So far the only thing I didn't like about it was the band.  A modern day, artsy band and not a good classic style of cigar band that I like so much.  
Then the unthinkable happened.  I picked it up to toast the foot and turned to grab the lighter.  The cigar flipped out of my hand and sailed across the room.  I was crushed.  I picked it up and carefully looked it over.  Perfect.  Not a crack or dent to be seen.  Boy did I luck out on that one.
It would have gone along with the pizza my wife dumped on the studio floor a little earlier, only I would have been heart broken if the cigar had turned out like the pizza did.
The initial taste from the dark maduro wrapper was heaven.  Sweet and delicious.  The draw seemed a little tight but I was not having trouble and the smoke would continue pouring out of the end after I set it down in the tray.
Sarah Jean
No pepper taste with this one but a strong wood flavor.  Not oak....  Maybe more along the line of black ash.  Very enjoyable.
The wrapper looks like this cigar was dipped in hot chocolate.  Dark chocolate.  But it had a roughness to the texture that I found comfortable while holding.
During the next two hours of smoking this and taking notes I relived many school days of 1959.  As far as the notes....  No spice.  Wood and leather were key players in this with that delicious wrapper flavor blending well.
I want another one that would sit in my humidor for a year of so just to see if it improved upon this already marvelous smoke.
What would I pay?  $8.00 in a cigar store.  Note:  If you can still find one they were dirt cheap.  Something along the lines of $34./bundle of 20.  Why?  Hell if I know.  If you do find some, grab them.  But don't forget to send me one so I can relive 1959 all over again.

Wife has been working late and she needs to get 500 bowls cranked out on the wheel for a soup fund raiser coming up in March so I was out in the studio all day helping out.  My bowls may be a bit misshapen but they are at least, unique.
Now, I am clayed out.

I have picked up a lot of viewers from France and Germany the lat few days.  More cigar smokers than art critics out there.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Man O War Ruination

I am not impressed with the name of this cigar.  Let's hope it is a better smoke than the idiots who think up stupid names like this cast such a great shadow of a doubt.  I wouldn't want one in my humidor just because of the stupid name on it.  I wouldn't care if it was the best smoking cigar in the world.
Down to the nitty gritty.  One of AJ Fernandez creations (Produces Rocky Patel's Fusion, Padilla's Habano & Sol Cubano's Cuban Cabinet) that is reputed to be a very strong cigar.
Made mostly with ligero leaves (leaves toward the top of the tobacco plant that are harvested last over many pickings and have become the strongest in flavor and texture as they matured) of Cuban Seed and Nicaraguan tobacco and wrapped in an oily Habano Ecuadorian leaf.
What they said: A ton of spice with nuances of black pepper and a sweet after taste.  Earth, leather and a hint of oak round out a full bodied experience.
They got every description in there but the kitchen sink.  We shall see.
What I say:  Ugly, non nondescript label that goes along with this stupid name.  Another embarrassment  to a fine humidor cabinet.
Once reduced to its birthday suit this is a hansom looking cigar.  The wrapper is a wonderful milk chocolate brown and constructed beautifully.  Mild smelling and i was hoping that it would perk up when lit.  I was expecting a full bodied cigar and, although I enjoy a medium bodied cigar more, was set for just such a smoke.
I did love the feel of this baby and ran it around in my fingers for a few minutes before the serious part began. One of those cigars you think is going to leave your hand all full of oil but doesn't.
I used a punch on this expecting a thick layer of cap.  Not so.  Looked to be one leaf worth of cap there.  A little disappointment felt there.
Toasting of the foot produced a nice smell but the burn was not even, with areas not seemingly wanting to glow no matter how long the flame was applied.  I investigated further and found that these areas were packed tightly, while other areas were looser.  I will give that more interest should it become an issue with the burn, but for now I will dismiss anymore thoughts along those lines.
After the light:  Oh come now!  I thought this was going to be a throat ripping barrel of spice and peel the top of your head off cigar.  First off i would rate it more as a medium bodied cigar with a lot of black pepper that hits you in the back of the throat.  Again, I don't see any of this spice, spice, spice, unless they are calling black pepper spice, and then in that case I would agree.  The pepper is such a high concentration that this could very well become a favorite of mine, if it were only for a label and name change.  Thick blue smoke enveloped me and I was off in Never Never Land.  A hearty burst of leather came into play about a quarter of an inch into this stick.
The draw was even and medium and whatever thoughts I might have had about the spotty, dense packing was gone.  Burn was even throughout.
This is a long time cigar, so don't light one if you only have an hour to play.  You will be letting half of it go out for another time.  And we all know that second burn will never be like the first burn.
What would I pay?  $9.00 in a cigar store.

Monday, February 27, 2012

La Herencia Cubana Core

This is a box pressed treat from A.J.Fernandez  with a Nicaraguan, Honduran Ligero and a Pennsylvania Broadleaf filler mix in a lovely Ecuadorian Habano Ligero wrapper.
This is a fairly pricey cigar, even by the box full through mail order.
What they said:  A plethora of earthy rich tobacco flavors overwhelms your senses as a solid finish of toasted ligeros warms your soul and melts you to the core.
This writer should have written romance novels, not cigar reviews.
What I say:  This is a beautiful, flawless looking cigar that looks and feels nice in your hand.  I was anxious to get my mouth on this wrapper.
The first puff or two did not do much for me.  Tobacco, that was all I was sensing.  But by about the forth puff I began picking up chocolate flavors.  By a quarter of the way into this stick the chocolate was still there but it was mixing with a wood now.  A beautiful combination.    By mid cigar I was in some flower bed on a warm spring day.  The flavors had changed to a flower garden and I was liking this cigar way more than you should like a cigar.
Drat!  this was the only one of these I had in my humidor, and I searched through them all to make sure there was not another hiding in there.
Expensive, yes.  Worth it, you bet.
What would I pay?  $12.00 in a cigar store.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Black Pearl

I have no idea which of the Black pearl cigars this is, but it is the lightest wrapper on of those I have.
Black Pearl makes several different cigars with different shades of wrappers.  I have five of six of them with various shades.
The design is flawless and smooth.  A torpedo shape with beauty in the making.    A mild smell of a fine tobacco when sniffed.
What they said:  Rich hints of toast and wood with a semi-sweet finish.
Another short and sweet description.
What I say:  Wonderfully constructed cigar.  Everything about it before you light the thing screams, good.
The band is nice.  A gesture of a good family of cigar building.  I will save this band for my collection.  Reminds me of the encounter of the French in the movie, Apocalypse Now.  Why.....I don't know.  Could be the girl on the band....could be the feeling.
This may be a Connecticut shade wrapper, although somewhat darker than normal for such.
Sarah Jean
Toasting the foot I realize, yes, this is a Connecticut shade wrapper , and yes it is already beginning to crumble under my hands.
Drat!   Although not nearly as fragile as a Cameroon wrapper it is still something you need to smoke while you are situated in a comfortable chair and not moving about doing work.
I toasted the foot and began puffing at the same time.
A most distinct flavor of leather. Heavy leather.  So much so it overwhelmed any other flavors that may have been there.
As I worked my way though this cigar I was hoping the leather flavor would subside and some wood or spices would enter.  But no.  Throughout the cigar that heavy leather flavor dominated the smoke.  Not bad.   I actually enjoyed it, but I wanted more to develop.  It didn't.  The cigar remained as it was when lit.  Good , but unexciting.
I have many more of these Black Pearls of different wrappers and will report on them in the future.  But for now I find this light wrapper version a so-so cigar that would make an okay mid day cigar.
What would I pay?   $5.00 in a cigar store.
It did last a long time and is a good 2 hour smoke.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

CAO Gold

This is a Ecuadorian Connecticut seed shade wrapper on a Nicaraguan filler.
I am a big fan of all the CAO cigars to date and find the Brazilian and Italia versions some of my favorite top ten.
This one came in a wrapper of Spanish cedar, which is not actually cedar at all, but a mahogany.
(On a side note:  If you plan on building your own humidor, do not build it out of cedar just because humidors are build out of Spanish Cedar.  Spanish Cedar is mahogany, not cedar).
The wrapper on this one is a nice dark, yellow version.  Not that pale yellow crap.  Almost a natural color wrapper.  Solid and well packed, firm throughout.
I sometimes wonder what we can do with all these veneers of Spanish Cedar we accumulate from our cigars.  There must be something....
Anywho, I removed the wrapper and found a cigar that was built with integrity.  These people at CAO are  fantastic.   I have never had one of their cigars that was not a top notch enjoyment.  And this was not going to be an exception.
What they said:  Spice, spice, spice.  That is all the reviews said, beside the cigar being a wonderful thing.
What I say:  Spice, spice, spice.  Yes, they hit this on the head.  My first puff reminded me of making a pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving time.  Not too strong, just mild enough to make me want more.
The cap was solid and good for a punch.  I cut mine.
I poured a glass of Malbec wine and talked to my son on the phone while I smoked this one.  
After the conversation I had not even made a dent into this beauty.
The smoke was wonderful and mild.  I was enjoying this.  My head turned to visions of sugar plums (so to speak) and I drifted off into na na land.
This is one damn fine cigar that should be saved for an after dinner smoke when good friends are about.
What would I pay?  $9.00 in a cigar store.
On a side note, I am still enjoying this beauty while I finish this review.  A very nice coffee taste here.  Could have something to do with the molasses toffee I am sampling as I write this, but all in all I am most pleased with this smoke.

My blog viewers have increased since I have gone to the cigar review.  Go figure.  I guess people are more interested in cigars than my rants.  Interestingly enough I have picked up a lot more viewers from Argentina and India also.  Must be some cigar people in those countries.  They never came for the rants.

Friday, February 24, 2012

La Estrella Cubana Oscuro

First off, this has to be one of the ugliest cigars on the market.   The very dark and veiny wrapper surrounds what looks like a dinner candle that was left out in the hot sun.
The wrapper has a nice chocolate smell to it however and I am excited to give it a whorl.
This has Dominican and Nicaragua fillers with this sweet Costa Rican maduro wrapper.
What they said:  Chocolate goodness dominates with spice and creaminess associated with much more expensive cigars.
What I say:  Another ugly band.  Looks like something for the 4th of July.
More Kat
The wrapper smells wonderful but the foot has not much smell at all.  We shall see.
This is a hard and solidly packed cigar but the draw is easy.  Very mild too.  I got the chocolate thing right off the bat.  Heavy semi sweet chocolate.  A little spice in the background but very little.  At least as far as I could tell.  I'm not good at finding the spice part of a cigar unless it hits me over the head.
Burned evenly throughout and changed a bit about a third into this smoke.  Still chocolate dominated it but there was a bit of something else going on that I can not put my finger on.  I remember that smell when I worked in a warehouse as a kid.  I don't know where the smell came from back then as I still can not put my finger on it.  Not an unpleasant taste or smell,  but different.
All in all this has been a good cigar.  Very mild.  Would make a good Sunday morning smoke on a snowy day.
What would I pay?  $4.50 in a cigar store.
* UPDATE:  I was still wondering what that smell / taste was.  I enjoyed it but could not put my finger on it so I began reading other reviews on this cigar and one of the fellows hit it on the head.
The old saying, "It's okay if you like smoking cardboard."  has a whole new meaning to me now.  That smell and taste is just like cardboard.  I actually enjoyed it before I jogged my brain enough to associated the two.
Cardboard or no (as we say here in northern Minnesota), I would enjoy this smoke all over again.
Apparently I do like smoking cardboard.

There is a etiquette that needs to be followed when cigar smoking.  And one of the proper manners is to remove the cigar band before or as soon as possible.  Sometimes with a fragile wrapper you can do some damage to the leaf if the band is stuck on there.  Then it is acceptable to smoke a portion of the cigar to warm the vegetable glue used to hold the band together so it loosens enough for safe removal.  The reason for removing of the band is so you do not boast about the cigar you are smoking to the rest of the world as though it was skill that landed it in your mouth and not how much money you had to lay out.  So quietly and with out ado so as to call attention to yourself and the cigar you are about to light, kindly remove the band.
We call those who walk around with the band on their cigars......assholes.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Punch Double Corona

This is my mainstay cigar.  This is the cigar I smoke the most and consider my everyday.  It is a damn fine cigar and at under $5.00 they can't be beat.  If I was only allowed to smoke one type of cigar the rest of my life, it would be a Punch Double Corona.  Not because it is the best cigar out there.  There are treats far better.  But that is what those are....treats.  I'm talking about what do I want to walk around holding in my hands all day.  This is it.From working on the car to mowing the lawn, to sitting in front of a fire or talking with friends.  A Punch Double Corona is perfect, every time.  Don't know what would go good with something?  Grab this cigar and make sure you didn't choose poorly.
It is available in natural, EMS (English market selection) and maduro.  Doesn't matter which you choose, they are all top notch.
What they said:  Wood and earth for the first phase, then some honey touches you along with some citrus.
What I say:  First thing is the wrapper.  It is rough to the touch.  Not likely to have this one slip out of your hand.  I like the roughness to this cigar.
Upon lighting I always seem to get the blackcherry taste, ever so slight.  I don't see that in the reviews by the cigar writer / reviewers of the world, and maybe it is just me, but I look forward to it none the less.
Then this cigar settles down and becomes that all familiar cedar cigar that I don't have to concentrate on to figure out what is going on next.  It is always consistent and always good.  The draw is smooth and easy and you have an hour and a half go mow the lawn.
Punch, Cohiba, Don Thomas, Excalibur, Helix, Hoyo de Monterrey, La Gloria, Macanudo, Partagas, and several other brands are all part of General Cigar Company, who's parent company is Swedish Match.  Just for information.
What would I pay?  $9.00 in a cigar store, and have many times.  But buy them by the box for about $4.50 each because you will go through a lot of them.  Trust me.
On a side note, the creator of this cigar company named it after the puppet show, Punch and Judy.  Which, if you have not heard of, you have not been around for the last 400 years.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Perdomo Reserve La Traditician Cabinet Series maduro

Wow!  That is one hell of a name.  I won't repeat it again, just refer to it as THE CIGAR.
Perdomo's Reserve line has added the La Triditican to their Cabinet Series and it comes in several different wrappers from a golden yellow shade to this triple fermented maduro.
I have not smoke any of them until this one.
First thing you notice is the wonderful, dark maduro wrapper.  It is heavily veined and the whole cigar is a bit caddy whompass, a sign that it is a hand made stick for sure.  It had some blooming on it and that I thought was a good thing because I have heard that these smokes, if received fresh have a tendency to come up with that horrid ammonia thing about half way through.  A sure sign that the cigar has not aged enough.  As tobacco leave age they give off large quantities of ammonia.  If you were to visit a cigar making facility you would find large ventilators in the ceiling and a heavy ammonia smell throughout the plant.  As they age over time the ammonia is dissipated and the cigar settles down to blend the flavors together.  Some cigars take years to transform into a wonderful thing from a simple horrid, smelly bunch of leaves.  I thought about putting it back in the humidor for a year or so to be sure but decided since it was blooming that it probably has been around a bit already.
I need to point out something to other cigar smokers out there who do not understand double maduro and triple maduro wrappers.  Maduro means the wrapper has been fermented, which usually results in a dark color.  Double maduro, even though the tale is passed on from generation to generation, does not mean a maduro wrapper and a maduro binder.  Double maduro means it has been fermented twice and a triple maduro means fermented three times.  There are a couple of cigars out there in the world with a maduro binder but I have never seen one up close even though I smoke double maduro cigars quite often.  So let us not perpetuate the myth of the double maduro.  I even read a cigar review by a so called cigar expert who stated a double maduro had a maduro binder.  He need to study cigar building 101.
But back to this beautiful looking stick.
What they said:  Nutty.
That is about it.  All the review said nutty.  Some said smooth, some said spicy, but they all focused on nutty.  
What I say:  First, I don't like the label.   Not a big thing as far as the cigar itself is concerned but a nice label would have been a touch of class for this wrapper.  The red label they put on it reminds me of one of those 75 cent cigars you get in a sample selection of 50 cigars for 49 dollars.  They are worth about 15 cents.
I really like the look of this cigar and the cap is tough and makes a nice clean, deep hole when punched.
I decided to make a cup of tea to go with it.
As soon as I took my first puff I was almost overwhelmed by the pepper taste.  I liked it, just wasn't ready for it to be that strong.  The triple maduro wrapper tasted good with the tea.  A nice semi-sweet chocolate flavor on my lips and tongue, which I kept wiping over the end of the cigar as I smoked.  (that sounded a bit erotic)
A third of the way into this cigar I was having one heck of a time with the burn being so damn uneven.  It was beginning to take away from my enjoyment of it, of which I was really enjoying the flavors, as nutty as they were.  Frustration finally got the better of me and I tossed it into the fire in my studio.  I had had enough of trying to get that one side to burn enough to keep up with the rest.  It was getting to look very ugly and that was ruining it for me.
In terms of flavor I was impressed.  The taste of that triple maduro with its cocoa and the nutty overtones were a delight.  The cigar before it was lit was a masterpiece.  But that burn....   It was like having the most flavorful Porterhouse steak that was so full of gristle that you had to work feverishly at it to get a bit. There comes a point in time when you throw up your hands and call it quits.  That is what I did.  I called it quits on a good tasting cigar.
It was going well with my tea too.
I someday will give this another go and hopes they are not all funky this way.  I would like to think this was an oddball.
What would I pay?  If they burn even I would shell out $7.00 in a cigar store.  If they are all like this one I wouldn't buy one.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Carlos Torano's Fortress

Abs ~ The Cliff Dwellers
This cigar sports a Nicaraguan Habano Rosado wrapper to cuddle long leaf fillers from Nicaragua, Honduras and Peru.  The cigar is aged after rolling to yield a blend that has had time to meld together.
What they said:  Notes of vanilla, toast, and sweet cedery (there that word is again) undertones.  Each puff is smooth as silk, coating the palate with thick, velvety smoke that lingers, often complemented by a dash of red pepper.
What I say:  A mild to medium smoke that last and lasts.  This is an hour and a half cigar that will give you just that in the way of a quality smoke.  Very smooth, with just a hint of pepper that is hot.  Smoke was almost non-existent and one would constantly wonder if it had gone out between puffs, but it was going full tilt.  It would be a good one to smoke in the house when you don't want to fog the place up.  Plus it is a damn good cigar to boot.
What would I pay?  $7.00 in a cigar store.
I watched the movie, Elizabeth while I enjoyed this one.  Both were top notch.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hoyo's Excalibur Cameroon

Kelsey and the dragon
When I grabbed this Excalibur out of the humidor I did not realize it was a Cameroon wrapped one.  That was an unexpected treat.  For those of you who are unaware, African Cameroon leaves are the thinnest, most delicate and fragile of the wrapper leaves.  If you can sit in one place, not move your arm anymore than necessary, and don't talk above a whisper you are sometime able to get through one without the wrapper totally coming apart.  Sometimes if you look at one too long it will fall off the stick.  But what a flavor they impart to the cigar.
Hoyo Excalibur is on my list of a good cigar, but not a great cigar.  Put a Cameroon wrapper on it and it jump up a couple of notches.
What they say:  Famously rich, strong, and creamy taste.
Simple and not without merit.
What I say:  I was as careful as I could be with this gem.  I knew I would not be able to walk about while enjoying it so I parked myself in a chair in front of the TV.  Even then, the wrapper began to crack apart and come off within an inch of the head.
Still, I totally enjoyed this smoke.  The flavor was as the writer reported, although not as strong as they made it out to be.  Sometimes I think wimps write these reviews and anything beyond water is strong to them.  I would rate it as a medium smoke.
What would I pay?  For the Cameroon wrapped Excalibur, $7.00 in a cigar store.
One thing I noted by accident that disturbs me a little was this:  When a hot torch flame was applied to the beautiful white ash, this balled up like little metal balls of mercury.  I don't know what is in there that makes this happen but it seemed really odd to me.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Padilla's Series 68

Abs & I in studio session
This leathery Cuban seed Corojo wrapper hugs the cigar like an expensive glove.  I was watering at the mouth long before I removed the clear wrapper.  It felt good and looked good.  A quick smell was not enough and I found myself with my eyes closed while I savored the aroma.  The fillers are those from Nicaragua's prized growing region, Jalaapa and Condega.
What they said:  Rich earthy smoke with cedary notes, hints of coffee, and a sweet, earthy aroma, warming up to show a complex balance of spice, earth and wood notes.
What I say:  Cedary?
First off the wrapper is beautiful thing to just look at, let alone taste.  A dark oily leaf found on the best of the best.  It even feels expensive.
First puff was heaven, and it never let me come down, right to the very finish.  Earthy and coffee are spot on.  I miss the spice part, as I usually do, but there was a hint of cedar in there.  Just enough to let you get a fleeting taste.
A truly fine cigar that ranks up there in my top ten.
What would I pay?  $9.00 in a cigar store.

Look up the definition of the word, "ON" and someone please tell my why we say, "The building is on fire".

Saturday, February 18, 2012

5 Vegas Gold

Abs in my garden
A Connecticut shade leaf that shimmers.  Very pale and smooth in your fingers.  This box pressed cigar was calling me to give it a try.  You know I am not fond of light shade leaves for wrappers as I often find them tasting like I was mouthing a leaf from an elm tree, but this one was different.  If I closed my eyes I could picture a medium EMS style wrapper on it and the taste was very pleasant.
What they said:  A slight nutty taste followed by zesty pepper on the back of your throat.  It instantly mellows into a polished smoothness with ample creaminess.
What I say:  The cap was firm and solid for a fine shade leaf wrapper and gave a good punch.  Toasting the foot did nothing in the way of aroma to excite me but that first draw was pleasant.  The pepper they talked about did not hit the back of my throat but settled on my tongue nicely and was most enjoyable.  I did not find that instantly mellows thing at all and the pepper stuck with me long after I set the cigar down.  There was a nutty taste in there while pulling, but that did settle down quickly leaving the pepper to tease my taste buds.
I smoked this while puttering about , building a fire in the studio and cleaning up a mess I left in the garage last night.  As I sat down to write this review I was down to the nub, holding it between two fingers so as not to get burned, and still enjoying the smoke.
A definite keeper.
What would I pay?  $5.00 in a cigar store.
On a side note:  I was told by Abigail yesterday that my new blog "SUCKS".   She is not a hardcore cigar smoker so that was understandable.  
Which brings up another point that pisses me off.  I live 11 miles from a town that hosts our school of K-12th grades.  You would think a town that has the school for all the children in a 700 square mile area could spell.  But they can't.  The town is spelled:  Bigfork.  Not Big Fork.  The school's mascot is a husky.  The name of the road the school is on is spelled: Huskie Blvd.  Jeeezus!  One of the substitute teachers said she was going to be working at the school the next day and she was going to be teaching the kids,  how to speak MEXICAN.  Oh my gawd!  
We are in trouble here folks.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sancho Panz's Extra Fuerte

Another new one for me.  This stick is wrapped in a shiny, reddish Honduran grown Cuban see leaf with a mix of Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers.
My sample was box pressed and sported a bit of blooming.  When I ran the punch in the end I was surprised on how think the cap was so I counted.  Five layers in this cap.  Nice.
The cigar itself was not overly fragrant but did have a good smell.
Abs ~ Morning T'ai Chi
What they said:   This baby starts and ends with a kick, while adding a few punches in between. Balanced to the T with an assortment of rich, bold flavors backed by a little pepper, the Sancho Panza Extra Fuerte is perfect for any seasoned enthusiast and will add a great finishing touch to that hearty steak dinner.
What I say:  I didn't care for the scent when I toasted the foot.  Reminded me of an electrical fire.
Immediately upon lighting one of the cap layers began to come off and I spent a little time tearing the loose parts away so they wouldn't be playing with my lips.  The first puff was very nice.
This cigar burned very slowly and even with what I perceived as a nice leather flavor.  The after taste was a good pepper flavor that stayed with me long enough so I didn't loose it for some time.
I very much enjoyed the taste of the wrapper on this one and it again reminded me of a Punch wrapper that I am so fond of.
This is a two hour cigar.
A definite one I will be sure to keep on hand from now on.
What would I pay?  $9.00 in a cigar store.

Update:  Wow!  I'm impressed!  My parcel that was sent Next Day Express via the U.S. Postal Service from Pittsburgh on February 1st.........arrived today.  16 days for a next day delivery.  And they are talking about cutting out next day delivery to save money.  Oh my fucking god.
I could have walked from Pittsburgh to here in less time.  The more money you throw at them to get your parcel there faster the slow it takes to get there.  Standard mail would have gotten it to me in five days.  A few years ago it would have taken only two days in standard mail.  Now it takes four days to go 30 miles.
I'm for letting the U.S.Postal Service (Post Office) go the way of the Dodo bird.  They are a the poorest run and managed business out there.  Congress has their head up their ass on this one.
On another note I had a package sent from the same location on February 14th, but I asked it be sent UPS.  It arrived yesterday.  2 days.  And they delivered it to my door.  Something the Post Office will not do here.  And it was cheaper than that silly NEST DAY EXPRESS that took 16 days.  Go figure.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Carlos Torano's "Exodus Silver 1959"

I have the entire Exodus series and will report on them as I get around to them.  I just grabbed a cigar out of the humidor and it turned out to be this one for my evening smoke.
A well packed and solid cigar in your hands.  It smells like a dream and I usually am pleased with the flavor when it smells this nice.
What they said:  Milk chocolate like sweetness and a leathery core, with a little shot of spice and pepper to the nose.
What I say:  Toasting was uneventful in terms of aroma except for a bit of spice in the air.
A nutmeg flavor hit me right off the bat and that leather filled my nasal cavity.
The wonderful chestnut colored wrapper had a crack in it, probably my fault, but it didn't cause a fail in the draw.  Superficial damage that played no importance or detraction in the smoke.
I looked forward to each puff, bringing the smoke deep into my nose.  Probably will pay a price for this later tonight.  Usually results in a hangover type feeling come morning, but it passes in a couple of hours.  But for now it will be well worth it.
A tremendous cigar of a medium body.  Reminds me much of a Punch Chateau L.
What would I pay?  $7.00 in a cigar store.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Graycliff's G2 Turbo

Here is one I was totally unfamiliar with from the get go.  I decided I best study a bit and found that Enrico Garzaroli created a resort in the Caribbean where cigar and wine connoisseurs can gather to enjoy what is suppose to be the best of the best in both.  Graycliff contains a five star restaurant and the worlds second largest private wine collection.  This is where he decided to create the Graycliff cigar.
This is one chunky cigar.
What they said:  Hailing from Nicaragua, Turbo comes packed with flavor due to its tasty, oil maduro wrapper.  Spicy flavors filled with pepper as cedar rests on your palate for a long, enjoyable finish.
Abs in S. Dakota
What I say:  This is a full bodied cigar to say the least.  Wonderfully constructed with a seemingly seamless wrapper.  The wrapper is very light in color for a maduro.  I was excited to give this one a whorl.
Toasting the foot provided me with a smell I associate with burning of an old Christmas tree come the snow melt in April.  Not the pine smell you first think of, but that smell you get from the wood itself after the needles are all gone and the trunk is roasting nicely.
This massive, fat beast is well packed and very firm.  The seemingly one leaf wrapper had a we bit of a blooming which told me I was going to be expecting a real treat here.
I was expecting a very strong, almost over powering first draw, but what I was pleased to find was a medium bodied flavor, although high on the medium end, and a very prominent pepper taste, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  There was that cedar after taste which was also pleasant.
The cigar burned evenly and long.  When it was over I wanted more.
This was the only one of these cigars I had in my possession and I was saddened by that.  Sort of like holding your shotgun while you walk back to your car and you don't have a shot shell on you.  You feel naked.
I will without a doubt be on the prowl for several more of these gems.  Enrico did honor to his Graycliff empire with this addition to the cigar world.  It fits in with his wine cellar and five star restaurant resort.
What would I pay?  $14.00 in a cigar store.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Macanudo's Cafe Hyde Park

To tell the truth I picked this cigar today only because it was in my way while I was organizing my humidor with the 367 new cigars I got in this morning.  An oddball that needed to go away.
A General Cigar product, the Macanudo Hyde Park come in several wrapper varieties, and I wish I had the maduro one, but I don't.  Another reason for choosing this cigar was that the Cafe Hyde Park is that of the Connecticut shade wrapper, and those are not my favorite so I wanted it out of the way so I could get my maduros in there.
What they said:  Even burn with a consistent, good draw that is neither light nor heavy.  Long ash and a hint of Almonds and cashews at the start that mix with fresh herbs.
What I say:  Handling it it looks to be one of the best made cigars in town.  Solid and flawless in wrapper construction.  Evenly packed with consistent color of the fillers.  The cap is nicely done and firm so a punch was in order.
One of my neighbors who was willing
to play one summer day
The smell reminded me of the old days when one of my uncles would sit around the Philco TV and watch the baseball game with a cigar going.  I would pick one up and smell it, sometimes putting it in my mouth unlit.  This Hyde Park reminded me of those times and smells.  Very pleasant.
For those of us who are band removers before we light them up, I caution you not to do that with this cigar.  I don't know what they use to glue the band together on this one but it sure was not meant to be peeled off before smoking.  Since I have this OCD thing about removing the band first I cut mine off carefully with a razor blade with only minor damage to the delicate shade wrapper.
Toasting the foot gave off a slight floral fragrance that was nice.  Closing my eyes and giving it my all I was unable to find that almond thing but cashews and herbs were right there.  The smoke had a somewhat, and very faint oil base paint smell to it that actually I found most enjoyable.  They were spot on with the draw.  It was consistent and not too hard and not too light.  Just right.
Shortly into this cigar I was beginning to be sorry that I wanted it out of my way.  It would be a dandy for an after dinner cigar with a bit of Grand Marnier and some good company.
I don't get too excited about the ash thing.  It can be long or salt and pepper color, or whatever.  It doesn't add to the flavor and is an aesthetics thing.  The benefit to an ash holding on is to act as insulation in keeping the burn cooler, for when the ash falls your burn get hotter because air is getting to it.  As long as a cigar hold some ash I don't jump up and down if it stay there for one inch or two inches.  For those who care, this ash held on well for about an inch and a half before I managed to bump it loose moving it about.
Flavor held well right down to my fingers.  A wonderful cigar that impressed me considering I was not expecting to enjoy it nearly as much as I did.
What would I pay?  $7.00 in a cigar store.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Perdomo's Lot 23 maduro

I just finished this cigar.  Well almost.  The nub is sitting here still going next to me and I will no doubt take a couple more drags off of it before I finish this review.
Lot 23 refers to a patch of ground Perdomo decided to plant an experimental crop in.  It was a virgin plot of soil and six years later the tobacco produced from that lot 23 went into making this cigar.  It comes in three different wrappers that I am aware of and I have smoked them all.  Today I am reviewing the maduro wrapper variety.  The maduro wrapper is not all that dark, as with many maduros.  Maduro wrapper are leaves that have been fermented and does not refer to a specific type of tobacco leaf.  They can be made from any tobacco leaf.  The fermentation process usually renders them dark in color and ads a nice sweetness to the flavor.
I am a fan of all of the Lot 23 cigars I have smoked and find them to be a good mid-day smoke that is not too heavy.  A mild to medium cigar that lasts a long time.  Good for working about in the yard.
What they say:  Creamy and chocolaty with a nutty taste and a perfect burn.
Short and sweet.
Jesse Cotton ~ Fly Away
What I say:  The cigar is not a dense packed stick, but beautifully crafted and pleasing to the eye.  Heavy veins are prominent in the wrapper and I like that.  Not a strong cap so I prefer to use a cutter rather than a punch on this smoke.
It starts out with a hit of wood flavors that I like in a cigar, and the cocoa flavor is right up front.  The burn is even and consistent throughout the full length of the cigar.  I was puttering about the studio while smoking this and during the hour plus I had it mostly in my mouth I tend to get the end a bit soggy.  With many cigars this soggy end collects the nicotine and results in a bitter taste about half way through.  Not so with this wonderful stick.  Even though I was having a hard time drawing because it was so soggy the flavor was still good and not the least bitter by the time I got it down to an inch and a half.  (takes one more puff).
I'm not a big fan of the Connecticut wrapper version as I do not care for the very light wrappers that give that plant taste to them, but this maduro version is one of my favorites for a working cigar where I do not have a need to sit down and give it my full attention.  Sort of like a shot of Cutty Sark scotch when you are busy working on the car as opposed to a 18 year old single malt in the evening in front of a fireplace.  A nice everyday cigar.
What I would pay?  $5.00 in a cigar store.
A little disturbing.  I was looking at the stats on this blog to see if the volume of my audience has gone down, up or stayed the same since I switched to a cigar review format, and low and behold I was taken back by the highest volume of key words used to locate my site.  "Nude Child"  !  Me thinks the kiddie porn police must be searching in hopes of stumbling upon something.  Won't find it here, so all those looking for that type of thing can please, go somewhere else.  Cigars and nakid adults only hang out here.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Drew Estates' Natural Dark Angel

Sarah Jean
This cigar is a mish-mash of tobaccos from Syria, Haiti, Turkey, Dominican Republic and St. James Parish all wrapped in a torpedo shape with a medium brown leaf that I suspect is Mexican.
Different articles written about this claim tobaccos from Italy, Africa, Spain and Louisiana.  I think maybe they make these cigars with whatever might be available at the time.  Who knows.
What they said:  A host of different gourmet long leaf tobaccos in a chunky torpedo create a rich, sweet and complex medium-full flavor.
Sounds like a politician.  Lots of words but says very little.
What I say:  First thing you notice with this cigar is that the foot has not been trimmed and is a ragged looking mess.  One is almost afraid to light it up for fear of a brush fire engulfing the neighborhood.
I did toast the foot and the damn thing didn't go out.  Just kept on burning like a cigarette.
Upon trimming the tip it was evident that the fillers were a mix of course and fine multi colored tobaccos.
One puff was it.  The only puff for that cigar.  What a horrible thing.  The first you notice is gasping for air and a tremendous burning on the back of your throat.  Review or no review I am not going to take a second puff of this hideous excuse for a cigar.
What would I pay for one?  Zip, zippo, nada.  You couldn't give me one for free.  As a matter of fact you would have to pay me to take one away to the nearest dumpster.

Giffords didn't do anything but get shot.  So we now name a great military boat after her?  Obama needs to go away.  Go away right now.
This country is so screwed up it doesn't know whether it is coming or going.  USS Giffords?  Give us all a break.  No body knew who she was before she got shot.  No body cares who she is after she got shot.
But now we have a NAVEL VESSEL of great importance named after her.
My Gawd!  There is no honor left in this country.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Perdomo's Patriarch

This is for the Corojo wrapped one.  It also comes in a fine maduro, of which I do not have any :(
This cigar is filled with long leaf tobaccos from Nicaragua's three growing regions: Esteli, Jalapa and Condega.
Broken Dreams
What they said:  The Patriarch showcases traditional Cuban vitolas and imparts as eventful and satisfying experience for the senses.  Rich layers of deep, dark flavors are present, including hearty spices, coffee undertones, and a touch of bittersweet chocolate.
What I say:  The wrapper on this stick is fragile.  They capped it with the binder and one layer of the ultra thin wrapper over the top.  Seemed a cheep thing to do.
Toasting the foot I felt like it was fall and we were burning leaf piles in the yard.  Smelled like burning leaf piles.  Not the most pleasant thing for a cigar but would be okay in the middle of winter to bring back memories of warmer, fall days.
The cigar was firm and tight and surprisingly I found the draw effortless.  Cough, cough.  Very spicy.  How about that?!?!  I actually can taste the spice in this one and was hoping on the next puff not to be able to.  But alas....the second puff was as horrible as the first.  Tasted like I was smoking a fermented fruit cocktail, or I had stuck my tongue in a recently emptied "Chinese 5 spice" container.
It is not often that I give up on a cigar, but I might have to toss this one before completing it.
I am a somewhat fan of the Perdomo Lot 23 series in all its variations but this Patriarch leaves me thinking it should have been sold in a convenient store next to the Dutch Masters that are wrapped in brown paper.
My conclusion is this cigar was a waste of a good wrapper leaf that could have been cuddling a worthy bundle of aged, Honduras tobacco leaves.
What would I pay?  $1.25 in a 7-11 store.

Rant:  I was reading an article about a school in Duluth that investigated what they thought was an incident with someone maybe luring a child.  Turns out after investigation there was a truck driver delivering items to the school.  The boys in the playground were getting the driver to honk his air horn, like all little boys do to truck drivers.  The driver complied several time and one boy approached the truck.  The driver asked him if he wanted to come into the cab and work the air horn.  The boy said no but then went and told a parent about it.  After the police and the school investigated they determined that the truck driver only wanted to let the boy work the horn if he cared to and no other intent was there.
The school said they ended the investigation and closed the incident, however for concerns of parents the truck driver was told formally that he is never allowed on the school district property again.
I was fuming when I read this.  Yes, we can do lots of things to protect children.  But at what cost?  This poor truck driver who was just trying to be a nice guy now has to live with the fact he has been banded from being on school property for no reason other than the school wanting to make a good show for the parents.
We might as well put all children in padded boxes until they turn 18 to keep them out of harms way.  That will be the end result if the human race continues to over protect children.
I am glad that I am nearing the end of my life because I sure as hell don't want to be around in 20 years to see how far off in left field people have become.  They will no doubt destroy themselves in short order.  And I'm glad I live out in the boonies where the mass of people living on top of each other have already ruined life there.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Oliva's Master Blend 3

This is a cigar that I truly love.  I can't wait for dinner to be over when I know this baby is just around the corner.
This is the third of the series that Oliva has put out in their Master Blend.  A very limited production made with a wonderful chocolate brown, sun grown broadleaf wrapper over a blend of Nicaragua Habano seed and ligero tobaccos.  It is a beautiful box pressed cigar that holds well and smells divine.   Reminds me of a cross between a Vintage 1992 Rockey Patel and an Alec Bradley Tempus.
What they said: A good balance of earthy, creamy flavors.  The spicy finish hints of brown sugar.  A beautiful dark brown cigar that's bursting with complex, balanced flavor that satisfies the palate with a rich, bold, full bodied finish.
What I say: I already told you about the shape and my thoughts above, so here goes the nitty gritty part.
Maybe two layers of cap.  A third one on such a fine cigar would not have been overboard and I think Oliva should consider that on their 4th in the series when it comes along.  Why be cheap on such a wonderful smoke as this.  Again, I did not pull them apart to count but found it a bit thin up there.  The filler tobacco mingles in with the cap leaves and it is hard to extract the plug if you use a punch to open up the cigar.
Those problems aside you get to finally enjoy this dandy.  The filler leaves are all rolled at once.  I'm not sure how that is done except to take a pile of leaves and roll the whole thing in one fell swoop.  Looks a bit strange from the foot but who gives a damn about how that end looks.
Sarah Jean ~ Whale Rider
I will go along with them on the creamy part.  And chocolate?  Not only in the color but in the flavor.  I also got a hint of oak.  This is a cigar that brings back memories and for me it brought back one from a lot of years ago.  Sometime about freshman in high school I was walking down the hall way of the school and past the wood shop.  In the air was the smell of freshly cut red oak.  The first puff on this cigar brought that memory rushing back to the front of my lobe.  A memory that had been lost for almost 50 years.
I think my taste buds are broken because I rarely find these spicy things they report in just about every cigar review.
This is a cigar, if smoked properly will burn your fingers as you attempt to get the last puff out of it.  And you will.  A top ten in my book as cigars go.  I hope Oliva will be up to the challenge when they turn their attention to the fourth in this series.
What would I pay?  $9.00 in a cigar store.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Carlos Torano's "Casa Torano"

I have decided to make this blog something useful.  As it stands it is just another blog no one but a few close friends read.  Like most blogs out there.
So starting with this one I am going to appeal to at least the cigar smokers of the world and give honest, real person reviews of cigars.
Don't worry, you will still get a photo every day.  And you don't have to read about the cigar.  I'm not twisting anybodies arm here, and I will no doubt still rant about certain things from time to time.

Let us start with a Carlos Torano, Casa Torano, which I am smoking at the moment.
A little background never hurt a thing, even though it doesn't change the flavor.
This Casa Torano blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan long fillers in a golden brown Ecuadorian grown Connecticut shade wrapper was a mix that was rolled at tobacco trade shows only for many years.  With pressure from the cigar smoking world they brought it our as their house blend as Casa Torano.
What they said:  Extremely complex smoke features a variety of flavors: Subtle spice, creamy sweetness, a peppery earthiness-in a nutshell, it takes your palate for a ride.
What I say:  First off, don't peel the band off this cigar until after you have smoked it down near the band where the warming will loosen the glue.  Attempting to peel it before you have enjoyed at least that much will result in a tear in the wrapper.  This wrapped is very fragile and removing of the band before lighting (which I always do) will wreck the wrapper, much like a Cameroon wrapper.
The cap is strong and lends itself well to a punch cutter.  Something a single layer cap will not do.  I didn't dig at this but it appears to be three layers of cap which gives you a nice firm cap to punch.  I have no preference with a strong wrapper on whether it is cut or punched but if I am working with a delicate wrapper such as this a cutter will often split the wrapper on me.  The punch worked out to be the best for this cigar.
In my hands it feels well packed and firm.
I'm not a huge fan of shade grown wrappers.  I will admit right up front that I will favor a dark maduro wrapper over a light anything wrapper.  But I smoke the light wrappers for my so called breakfast cigars.  This shad grown wrapper is a wonderful golden raisin color and gives you that "plant. leafy" taste in your mouth as most light wrappers do.
Toasting the foot gave the room a nice odor.  A good start for the day.  Very mild smell.
Flavor:  I don't know where they get these cigar writers from with their hint of this and hint of that.  Maybe I just don't have taste buds left.  Who knows, but what I did realize was that there was very little flavor in this cigar.  A little sweetness that I enjoy in a morning smoke.   No, nothing like a Swisher Sweet.  Guck!!!!  A very mild, almost non noticeable sweetness with (yes) a hint of pepper.
Sarah Jean with Phoenix in the background
This rates as one of the mildest cigars out there and I found it to be one that I would rate near the top of the heap in terms of a morning cigar.  I just wish the wrapper was a little more durable.
I don't know what they cost per cigar but I would be willing to go $7.00 in a cigar store for one.
I should note that cigar stores are for going to for the atmosphere and talking with like minded people.  Actual purchasing of cigars is done through mail order where they are much cheaper.  Of course you are almost required to buy several good sticks when you visit a cigar store just to help the owner stay in business so you have a place to come and hang out.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Our wonderfully run United States Postal Service

Sarah Jean and ...

On February 1st I had a package sent to me from  Harrisburg Pennsylvania via The United State Postal Service.  It was sent Overnight Express for a cost of almost 19 dollars.
Here it is, February 8th and I have not seen it.  Yesterday it was in ....Pennsylvania.  At least on the western side of Pennsylvania, but still in Pennsylvania.
Please, anyone, tell me why we should continue throwing money at this Government run enterprise that can't get a piece of mail to a person in three times the length it takes any other private carrier to do the same.
If I had the parcel sent standard mail I would probably have it in my hands already, and for a fraction of the cost.
Seems the more you pay to have something sent quickly the longer it takes to get there.  Typical U.S. Government anything.
Congress is to blame.  Clowns.  Every stinking one of them.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Coffee Cans

Sarah Jean

There are few things that please me more than peeing in a coffee can.  An empty one of course.  
I think it stems from those times when you are in a place where you can't just relieve yourself as normal in a bathroom.  You know, like when you are out fishing on a boat and you have to go and the only thing available is that coffee can.  It feels wonderful because you were holding it as long as possible and then finally gave into using that can.  What a great feeling.  
In my studio I keep a coffee can in a side room.  I often use it when I am working in there, and even though there is a bathroom nearby I will often just use the can.  And even though I am in no great urgency, it feels as good as if I were out on a fishing boat with a bladder that is about to explode.  Maybe it is the sound of the stream hitting the bottom of that can.  That tin sound.
Next time you are out in your garage working on the lawn mower (Country folks.  City folks hire illegal people who avoid proper entry into this country to mow their lawns.)  put a coffee can in the corner for the times you need to relieve yourself.  Then tell me how great it feels.  

Monday, February 6, 2012

Fire at will

Sarah Jean ~ Bug

I was perusing some of the cookie cutter porn blogs that Tumblr hosts.  You know the ones, where they just grab images from each other and post them for the day.  They all have the same stuff on them, just with a different header on top.  
I noticed several of my images had been grabbed and were on these sites.  I don't mind them grabbing my work and sharing it with all the other sites who do the same, but damn it it would be nice if there was a site out there that gives the creator credit for the work.  All that I found in the way of any credit was some other site like theirs that they took it from, no credit to me or mention of me anywhere.  That part pisses me off.  
It would be nice to have a key on the computer that you could hit and blow these web sites out of the water.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Here is a good one

Sarah Jean

We had just climbed up from that river below.  Actually, I had climbed up there about a half hour before because I wanted to get the elevation for the shot of her down at the river.  So, she just climbed up here, and is pooped out.  She also managed to get balsam pitch all over her ass from parking it here. 

Isn't this interesting.  We can't be concerned with catching and prosecuting people who sneak into this country illegally but we indict a marine biologist because she feed a killer whale.  
Go figure.????
Shows you where this Government's priorities are at.

Time for the REVOLUTION to begin. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

New word

Sarah Jean ~ Ending

Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and one where the members of society that are the least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are in fact rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Friday, February 3, 2012

We produce crap for the consumer market


I still hate these LCD monitors.  Sit in a different position and the contrast and hues change.  Think you have it down perfect and then adjust your chair and wallah....looks like shit.
They might be compact but they leave something to be desired in the way of quality.  
Another case where progress has ruined a good thing.
LCD monitors are good for reading emails and that is about it. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tax Time


I have been busy with taxes the last several days, so if I double posted, or forgot to post on a day, tough cookies.
Seems like every year I manage to sell a print to some business out of the country.  This creates mega head aches come tax time.  If you sell something to a foreign business, even if it is a print you have to fill out the necessary forms with the IRS for income from foreign country.  Don't have to do it if an individual buys your print, but if a company buys it you might consider hanging yourself instead of filling the paper work with Uncle Sam.
Other than that part of it my taxes were fairly simple this year.  No land sales, no investment problems and certainly no big income to deal with.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I have no pride in this country anymore

This one I know is Jesse Cotton

This is a sad article.  No transplant for illegal immigrant.  The sad part is he is not being deported.  We know he snuck into this country illegally like some terrorist but then we do not follow up on our laws and let him stay.  If we caught an Pakistan person sneaking into the country by going around a border crossing we would lock him up in some remote prison for years without charges.  But Mexicans......    We are a sorry piece of shit when it comes to  enforcing our laws equally.  And the sorry assholes who complain about racial profiling when it comes to Mexicans in the southern states should take note of how we racial profile everyone else except Mexicans, which these people are perfectly okay with.
I'm for shooting them.  The ones screaming about racial profiling.  Useless obstructions to the judicial system.